Close to 1.5bn smartphones are expected to be shipped throughout the world in 2017, with over one billion of those powered by the Android platform.
That's the belief of independent research firm Canalys, which anticipates smartphones to account for 73 per cent of all mobile phone shipments by 2017.
Fuelled by the ever-falling costs of smartphone production and the resulting lower price tags for consumers, the firm also forecasts the end of the feature phone.
"The price of smart phones has fallen dramatically over the last few years and this has helped increase penetration,’ said Chris Jones, Canalys Principal Analyst.
"As component prices continue to fall, vendors will be able to deliver great experiences on smart phones at low price points, which means that in many markets, feature phones will become extinct.’
As for the devices themselves, Canalys predicts that the Android platform will be a major driving force behind the growth of smartphone sales, estimating that over one billion of the devices sold in 2017 will be powered by Google's mobile operating system.
The increased sales would net Android a hefty 67.1 per cent share of the smartphone market. Apple on the other hand, whilst similarly growing its smartphone shipments, is expected to suffer a diminished market share, down to just 14.1 per cent in 2017.
“Apple’s growth will be curtailed by the fact that momentum in the smart phone market is coming from the low-end, and Apple is absent from this segment,” said Jessica Kwee, Canalys Analyst.
However, as rumours surrounding the potential release of a budget iPhone continue to heat up, this could be a reality that Apple is looking to avoid. But for now at least, it would seem that the likelihood of such a device being on the horizon isn't too great.
Smartphone image from Shutterstock